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Somalia People - 2024


GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES  Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese


12,693,796 (2023 est.)

note: this estimate was derived from an official census taken in 1975 by the Somali Government; population counting in Somalia is complicated by the large number of nomads and by refugee movements in response to famine and clan warfare


noun: Somali(s)

adjective: Somali

Ethnic groups

Somali 85%, Bantu and other non-Somali 15% (including 30,000 Arabs)


Somali (official, according to the 2012 Transitional Federal Charter), Arabic (official, according to the 2012 Transitional Federal Charter), Italian, English

major-language sample(s):
Buugga Xaqiiqda Aduunka, waa laga maarmaanka macluumaadka assasiga. (Somali)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.


Sunni Muslim (Islam) (official, according to the 2012 Transitional Federal Charter)

Demographic profile

Somalia scores very low for most humanitarian indicators, suffering from poor governance, protracted internal conflict, underdevelopment, economic decline, poverty, social and gender inequality, and environmental degradation. Despite civil war and famine raising its mortality rate, Somalia’s high fertility rate and large proportion of people of reproductive age maintain rapid population growth, with each generation being larger than the prior one. More than 60% of Somalia’s population is younger than 25 as of 2020, and the fertility rate is among the world’s highest at almost 5.5 children per woman – a rate that has decreased little since the 1970s.

A lack of educational and job opportunities is a major source of tension for Somalia’s large youth cohort, making them vulnerable to recruitment by extremist and pirate groups. Somalia has one of the world’s lowest primary school enrollment rates – just over 40% of children are in school – and one of the world’s highest youth unemployment rates. Life expectancy is low as a result of high infant and maternal mortality rates, the spread of preventable diseases, poor sanitation, chronic malnutrition, and inadequate health services.

During the two decades of conflict that followed the fall of the SIAD regime in 1991, hundreds of thousands of Somalis fled their homes. Today Somalia is the world’s fourth highest source country for refugees, after Ukraine, Syria and Afghanistan. Insecurity, drought, floods, food shortages, and a lack of economic opportunities are the driving factors.

As of 2022, more than 660,000 Somali refugees were hosted in the region, mainly in Kenya, Yemen, Egypt, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Uganda, while nearly 3 million Somalis were internally displaced. Since the implementation of a tripartite voluntary repatriation agreement among Kenya, Somalia, and the UNHCR in 2013, many Somali refugees have returned home, some 80,000 between 2014 and 2022.  The Kenyan Government in March 2021 ordered the closure of its two largest refugee camps, Dadaab and Kakuma, which then hosted more than 410,000 mainly Somali refugees.  However, the UN refugee agency presented a road map, including voluntary repatriation, relocation to third countries, and alternative stay options that persuaded the Kenyan Government to delay the closures.  The plan was supposed to lead to both camps being closed by 30 June 2022. Yet, as of May 2022, few Somali refugees had decided to return home because of security concerns and the lack of job prospects, instead waiting in the camps unsure of what the future held for them. Other Somali asylum seekers brave the dangers of crossing the Gulf of Aden to reach Yemen – despite its internal conflict – with aspirations to move onward to Saudi Arabia and other locations.

Age structure

0-14 years: 41.54% (male 2,633,262/female 2,640,088)

15-64 years: 55.77% (male 3,609,721/female 3,469,735)

65 years and over: 2.69% (2023 est.) (male 143,742/female 197,248)

2023 population pyramid:

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 99.4

youth dependency ratio: 94.2

elderly dependency ratio: 5.2

potential support ratio: 19.3 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 19 years (2023 est.)

male: 19.2 years

female: 18.7 years

Population growth rate

2.49% (2023 est.)

Birth rate

37.7 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)

Death rate

11.4 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

Net migration rate

-1.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

Population distribution

distribution varies greatly throughout the country; least densely populated areas are in the northeast and central regions, as well as areas along the Kenyan border; most populated areas are in and around the cities of Mogadishu, Marka, Boorama, Hargeysa, and Baidoa as shown on this


urban population: 47.9% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 4.2% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

2.610 million MOGADISHU (capital), 1.127 million Hargeysa (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.73 male(s)/female

total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

621 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 85.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

male: 94.7 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 75.2 deaths/1,000 live births

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 56.1 years (2023 est.)

male: 53.8 years

female: 58.6 years

Total fertility rate

5.22 children born/woman (2023 est.)

Gross reproduction rate

2.57 (2023 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

6.9% (2018/19)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 96.4% of population

rural: 73.7% of population

total: 84.2% of population

unimproved: urban: 3.6% of population

rural: 26.3% of population

total: 15.8% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure


Physicians density

0.02 physicians/1,000 population (2014)

Hospital bed density

0.9 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 82.4% of population

rural: 33.8% of population

total: 56.2% of population

unimproved: urban: 17.6% of population

rural: 66.2% of population

total: 43.8% of population (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2023)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, malaria, Rift Valley fever, and sexually transmitted diseases: hepatitis B (2024)

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

animal contact diseases: rabies

note: on 31 August 2023, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Travel Alert for polio in Africa; Somalia is currently considered a high risk to travelers for circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPV); vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) is a strain of the weakened poliovirus that was initially included in oral polio vaccine (OPV) and that has changed over time and behaves more like the wild or naturally occurring virus; this means it can be spread more easily to people who are unvaccinated against polio and who come in contact with the stool or respiratory secretions, such as from a sneeze, of an “infected” person who received oral polio vaccine; the CDC recommends that before any international travel, anyone unvaccinated, incompletely vaccinated, or with an unknown polio vaccination status should complete the routine polio vaccine series; before travel to any high-risk destination, the CDC recommends that adults who previously completed the full, routine polio vaccine series receive a single, lifetime booster dose of polio vaccine

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

8.3% (2016)

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

Currently married women (ages 15-49)

62.9% (2023 est.)

Child marriage

women married by age 15: 16.8%

women married by age 18: 35.5%

men married by age 18: 5.6% (2020 est.)

Education expenditures

0.3% of GDP (2019) NA


total population: NA

male: NA

female: NA

NOTE: The information regarding Somalia on this page is re-published from the 2024 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Somalia 2024 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Somalia 2024 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 04 May 24, Copyright © 2024 ITA all rights reserved.